The Vision and Learning Center
Brain Based Therapy
Where does vision occur? Not in the eyes, as you might think, but in connection between the eyes and the rest of the brain. It is part of embodied cognition, therefore to change visual function you have to change the way your brain processes visual information.
A publication by the American Optometric Association on Vision as a Collaboration Between Eyes and Brain, co-authored by Dr. Press, concluded: "Information from neuroimaging and insights from cognitive neuroscience demand a significant reformulation of the understanding of vision. Vision occurs neither in the eyes nor in the brain, but emerges from the collaboration of the eyes and the rest of the brain. Vision is a pervasive aspect of our existence which permeates all of our activities. Vision develops and, due to neural plasticity, can be enhanced."
This is why it is so important to understand that optometric vision therapy is different from self-help "eye exercises". Optometric vision therapy is like physical therapy for the eyes, but with a cognitive or thinking component. Because of the complexity of the visual system, we design individually prescribed therapy plans to address each person’s visual needs.
Pediatricians screen eye functions, and ophthalmologists examine eye functions.
It is also important to understand why there can be disagreement when comparing the recommendations of developmental optometrists and other eye doctors or pediatricians. Pediatricians screen eye functions, and ophthalmologists examine eye functions. If they determine that there are no abnormalities with the eye – that’s the end of discussion. The eyes are fine, therefore there’s no need for vision therapy. This is a shortsighted approach when you consider that vision occurs beyond the eyes.
Simply put, the need for brain based vision therapy for patients with condition such as autism spectrum, ADHD, reading problems or brain injury has nothing to do with whether eyesight is 20/20 or the eyes are healthy.
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